December 15, 2020

Faculty and Staff

Leadership Team

Behzad Dayanim he|him|his
Executive Director, Tremont School/Collaborative Learning Project, Inc.

Behzad is a visionary educational leader with a rich, eclectic background. A relationship builder to the core, he brings his passion for community building along with deep experience in strategic marketing, design, and communication to Tremont School. He has a deep understanding of our roots and a vision for the future. Having served in various creative and professional roles, Behzad brings a wealth of experience as a head of school, chief learning officer, seasoned experiential educator, accomplished musical performer, visual artist, and strategic marketing and education consultant. Behzad earned a double master’s degree from Brandeis University in Business Administration, from the Heller School for Social Policy & Management, and in Communal Service and Professional Leadership from the Hornstein Program. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz & Commercial Composition from the Manhattan School of Music. After school, you can find Behzad in the music room playing drums with the student rock band.

Colleen L. Meaney she|her|hers 
Program Director

Colleen is a seasoned progressive educator and administrator who will be serving as Tremont School’s Program Director, our key educational leadership role, supporting our teachers and students. Prior to coming to Tremont School, Colleen served as the Director of the Theodore R. Sizer Teachers’ Center at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Massachusetts where she consulted with schools to support both educators’ and students’ learning and well-being, facilitate innovative programmatic design, and whole-school redesign—all through a progressive education lens. Colleen has a depth of experience strengthening educator capacity for antiracist pedagogy, competency-based achievement, the means to knowing students well, and creating the conditions for authentic student engagement. Colleen is a National Facilitator with the School Reform Initiative, has served as Dean of Faculty at Souhegan High School, Assistant Principal at Concord-Carlisle High School, New England Association of Secondary Schools & Colleges Commission Member, and Board of Trustee member at Innovation Academy Charter School. We are thrilled that she is here and excited to add someone with her passion, experience and skills to our leadership team.

Suzie Kornblum she|her|hers
Director of Admissions

Suzie has 30 years of experience in teaching, education and non-profit administration. Most recently, Suzie was the Executive Director of Sudbury Extended Day, the Before and After School Care Program in Sudbury, MA. Her prior roles include heading the Business Office at Concord Children’s Center for 6 years, and serving as Director of Admissions at Argosy University in Washington, D.C. She began her career as a classroom teacher in the early elementary grades. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Suzie earned her BA in History from Dartmouth College, with a minor in Education. She received her MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. When not at Tremont, Suzie enjoys watching movies and Boston sports events with her husband and three sons, playing piano, knitting, reading, and walking her dog Kaiser.

Deb Abrahams-Dematte she|her|hers
Director of Development

Deb has over 25 years of development experience in a variety of educational and non-profit settings. Most recently and for the past 9 years, she served as the Director of Development and a member of the Leadership Team of the Anthroposophical Society in America. Deb reflects that her non-profit career is a natural outgrowth of her lifelong commitment to supporting children and families, as well as building social and organizational forms that reflect and support our highest intentions for one another and the world. She shares that “building relationships is a passion of mine, particularly in service to generating positive social change.” Deb has a BA in political science and women’s studies and an MS in leadership of mission driven organizations/nonprofit management. She enjoys cooking, yoga, gardening, and xc-skiing, and lives with her husband Bill in Wilton, NH, along with their dog, cat, and 9 chickens.


Sara Catanese she|her|hers 
Middle School Science Teacher & STEM Coordinator

Sara brings experiences in science teaching, psychosocial research, and mental health counseling, as well as an educational background in the health sciences, biology and rehabilitation education, to how she approaches both people and ideas. She is committed to the development of knowledge, tools, and skills that may mediate co-creation and problem-solving within and without our Tremont community. In particular, she looks forward to learning with and from her students and collaboratively integrating real-world ‘citizen science’ projects into the classroom. Her other interests include reading, running, learning (or trying to, anyways) different coding languages & applied informatics skills, and spending time with loved ones. Sara is excited for the opportunity to further contribute to Tremont by serving on the Board.

Sue Cogswell she|her|hers
Middle School Humanities Teacher

Sue has taught middle school students for over 15 years. Before coming to Tremont School, she spent 12 years teaching in Boston at a full inclusion middle school and tutored students in ELA and executive function skills. Sue grew up in Connecticut, and received her Bachelors in Psychology from Stonehill College, with a minor in Education. After working for a few years in the mental health field and a short stint in California, she began her formal teaching career by receiving a Masters in Special Education from Wheelock College. When she is not teaching, Sue likes cooking, baking (yes they are different), hiking, biking and spending time with her friends and family (including the fluffy ones).

Bryan Holmes he|him|his
Middle School Math Teacher

Bryan brings over 10 years of teaching and special education experience to his role as middle school math teacher. While attending Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where he majored in Philosophy and minored in Hispanic Studies, Bryan studied abroad in Spain for a semester. He loved it so much that he returned to Spain after graduating to teach English and travel for a year, becoming fluent in Spanish in the process. Bryan comes to Tremont from his previous role as math co-teacher in the Community Day Charter School system in Lawrence, and before that worked right up the street from Tremont at the Guild for Human Services! Outside of work, Bryan enjoys traveling, photography, sports, and especially music. When he’s not teaching his awesome math classes, Bryan hopes to be in the music room jamming as often as possible.

Dave Buchanan he|him|his 
High School Math Specialist
IT Support

Dave served as an officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers, after graduating from the US Military Academy (West Point). While in the Corps of Engineers, Dave obtained the Professional Engineer license (in Civil Engineering) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Maine. Most recently, Dave taught STEM enrichment and provided IT support in another, smaller, private school. Dave also has a Master of Divinity degree and serves as a small-church pastor. Dave has a lot of experience teaching and working with young people, in school settings, Scouts, camps, and church life. Besides mathematics, Dave loves reading, singing, playing recorders, and loving his grandchildren (Bennett and Iris), and his dog, Dixie.

Erin Hilterman she|her|hers 
High School Math Specialist

Erin earned her Masters and license in Special Education from Merrimack College and Bachelors in Mathematics from Holy Cross. Having served as a navigator in the U.S. Air Force and then a test engineer at BAE Systems, Inc, she looks forward to bringing the stories of these real-world applications of math to the classroom. On the creative side, Erin’s work as a natural light photographer of children was selected as a Boston Parents Paper “Top 5 Family Favorite” in 2016. In her free time, Erin enjoys being with her own children, ages 16, 13 and 9, and sharing in their passions by volunteering as a youth soccer coach and backstage for high school theater productions.

Tore Kapstad he|him|his
High School Humanities Teacher

Tore has taught at the middle and high school level for over 20 years, teaching courses in World History, US History, Geography, Civics and Government, Economics, Humanities, ELA, Literature, Writing, Comparative World Religion, and a number of elective courses. He has taught in progressive public and private schools in New York City and Boston, MA. A graduate of Middlebury College and Teachers College of Columbia University, Tore is a National Board Certified Teacher in Social Studies-History and also a certified ESL teacher. When not in the classroom, Tore enjoys sports, music, reading, and spending time with family and friends. He is waiting sometimes patiently and other times impatiently for the start of the next soccer World Cup.

Nicole Notaro she|her|hers
High School Integrated Science Teacher

Nicole brings over 14 years of teaching experience to her role as Tremont’s High School Science Teacher, blending biology, chemistry, physics and geoscience into a curriculum that promotes the development and application of reasoning skills and concepts within, between, and beyond traditional curricular boundaries. Before moving to Tremont, she taught for six years at the Acera School and prior to that at the Atrium School. Nicole’s areas of professional expertise include STEAM instruction, Executive Function coaching, Social Emotional Learning, Research and Curriculum Development, Making Connections & Creativity, Problem-solving & Team Planning. Nicole is a graduate of Tufts University and lives with her long-time partner, Brandon, and dog, Scout. A longtime sailor, her other hobbies include audio installation, auto repair, construction, hiking, and yoga.

Faculty Specialists

Loring “Dr. B” Brinckerhoff he|him|his
College Guidance Team

Loring is a nationally recognized authority on college students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD. He has 35 years of experience in the field of higher education and disabilities. Last year he retired as the Director of the Office of Disability Policy for Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, NJ. He is also a higher education and disability consultant to Harvard Law School and Columbia University. Loring co-authored one the leading textbooks in the field, Postsecondary Education and Transition for Students with Learning Disabilities, as well as dozens of articles and book chapters for parents and professionals on high-stakes testing, disability documentation, transition from high school to college and self-advocacy skills for adolescents with disabilities. He earned his Ph.D. in learning disabilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he started the LD Support Services office in the McBurney Resource Center. He is the past president of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). Loring has three grandchildren in San Francisco and resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Kathleen Buchanan she|her|hers
Learning Support Coordinator

Kathy is an experienced special education teacher and administrator skilled in supporting a wide range of learners to achieve lifelong learning success. With her Army officer husband, she has lived and taught in public and private schools in Virginia, Germany, West Point, New York, and Maine. Kathy developed special education programs in Bangor, Maine and at Cottage Hill Academy in Massachusetts, and was the Director of Special Education for 10 years for Clinton (MA) Public Schools. She graduated from Ladycliff College with a BA in Psychology and Special Education, the University of Maine at Orono with a Master’s in Special Education, and American International College with a Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Administration. Kathy and her husband have a daughter and a son and two grandchildren, including one with significant special needs. Most of her time away from Tremont is spent spoiling her grandkids!

Tori Campbell she|her|hers
Health and Wellness Teacher
World Languages Teacher

Tori grew up in Boulder, Colorado and went to college at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she majored in French and Russian. That led to a 20-year career as an Army intelligence officer, serving around the US and in Germany, Bosnia, Iraq, South Korea, Japan, and Australia. Along the way, she commanded a company, went to grad school (the first time), taught history and coached orienteering at West Point, and served as a project officer at the Pentagon. She is married to her West Point classmate, Jon, and they have two kids: Anna (16) and Peter (14). After Jon and Tori transitioned from military service in 2016, the whole family took time off from work and school and traveled for a few years, including a lot of backpacking, camping, and orienteering. During this time, Tori realized that although she loved intelligence work, she was more passionate about making a difference in education. She recently completed graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and says the opportunity to become a part of Tremont feels like coming home to her.

Chris Nifong he|him|his 
Music Specialist

Chris is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who is currently completing his graduate degree  from Berklee College of Music. He has been involved with Tremont in the past and is excited to re-engage with our community as one of our music faculty. Chris is devoted to empowering students to create and believes that music can be a terrific vehicle for building social connections and community. Chris will be offering a range of musical options this year.  

Ed Lee Rocha he|him|his 
Spanish Teacher

A graduate of Harvard University and Boston University, Ed is the founder of a language education company based on his RoLa method of teaching foreign languages. He is the founding president of the Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance and a published author of Spanish education books and children’s books. Ed has consulted with Tremont in the past and is excited to formally join our team where he hopes to enhance our language program and our community in a meaningful way.

Heather Scott she|her|hers  
Integrated Arts Coordinator
Marketing & Communications Specialist

Heather has been teaching art for twelve years, and started in the public sector before moving to independent schools. She comes most recently from Austin Preparatory School, where she developed the visual arts program and all the visual arts courses that are offered there. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching Art from Salem State University, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Art Institute of Boston. Her illustrations have been featured in various art shows, and recently won “Best of Show.” Heather believes strongly in Tremont School’s mission and is driven to help her students reach their full creative potential. When she’s not teaching, Heather enjoys reading, boxing, and spending time with her husband, young daughter, and dog, Jake. 

Kara Vanasse she|her|hers  
School Counselor

Kara comes to Tremont with significant experience with in-home, community and facility based treatment. Originally from RI, she moved to Massachusetts 5 years ago after completing her graduate degree in Community Psychology at the University of New Haven. Kara has worked with kids and families in intensive in-home and community based settings, as well as in residential treatment facilities for specific categories of mental and physical health difficulties. She is excited to work with the teachers, families, and students at Tremont as she believes that academic success is rooted in social and emotional skill building. Kara has extensive practice with utilizing CPS with children, families, supports, and in everyday life. In her down time, Kara enjoys reading, painting, cooking/baking, and finding new hiking trails with her dog, Atticus.

Administrative Staff 

Veronica Loh she|her|hers
Business Associate

Veronica is a professional accountant helping to provide accounting and business support to the Tremont School. Her background is in audit and financial control, having worked predominantly in the financial industry in the UK, Cayman Islands and the US. Veronica is a CFA Charterholder and an Associate Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. When not working, Veronica loves to read, garden and bake for her family. She also scuba dives and enjoys visiting other countries around the world.

Nadia Shahmehri she|her|hers
Office Manager & Executive Assistant

Nadia is an expert at building systems and enjoys finding creative solutions to different challenges. As Office Manager and Executive Assistant, she will be the point person for many inquiries and a primary contact when communicating with the school. Nadia brings over 20 years of experience in operations management and organizational support to her role. Prior to joining us, she served as Director of several STEM learning centers. After two years overseeing online classes, she’s excited to be back in person with students. Nadia lives in Westford with her 15-year-old son (a self-proclaimed astrophysics nerd) and their adorably neurotic puppy. She enjoys spending time in the liminal space between science fiction and real life, color coding spreadsheets, and for fun she follows the stats on her Roborock vacuum a little too closely (114 total hours of cleaning time).

Jodi Tippett, R.N. she|her|hers
School Nurse

Jodi has been a school nurse for 17 years, and a summer camp nurse for 20 years. She has a master’s degree from Boston College in psychiatric and mental health nursing, and she worked for many years as an adult psychiatric clinical nurse specialist. Jodi views every encounter with those in the school community as an opportunity to build  relationships, and to increase the community’s knowledge of health and wellness. She finds working with children and their families very rewarding. Jodi is the proud parent of a 5th grade teacher in Acton. Her first career was in software, and she actually worked in the same neighborhood on Virginia Road as a technical support engineer, technical support manager, and a quality assurance engineer. Jodi lives with her husband and two Siberian cats. Her hobbies include fused glass, gardening, and watching the seasons change while on long walks.